Author: Dawn

The dream remained the same.

The same space. A corridor that was similar yet slightly different each time. Carlyn walked towards an unknown destination.

It felt like he could never reach the end. On the other hand, his sleep time seemed to be gradually decreasing.

It was a small annoyance. If it were to continue like this, he would rather have nightmares.

Nightmares and recurring dreams.

Though the content was better in the latter, the gradually revealing wake-up time was still a struggle for Carlyn.

‘I can’t show that I’m too tired.’

As the mission was a mission, he was in the process of managing her expression at all times.

For a young knight to look constantly tired was not typical.

It would be the same in the future.

The princess’s guardian knight. Throughout the mission, he had to act in a play. Sighing, Carlyn raised his thin eyebrows.

He was currently accompanying Princess Haisen on her journey to the Empire. The procession wasn’t extravagant.

‘It’s not few, though.’

Still, it was the princess of a nation who was on the move.

Carlyn didn’t have much to do. He had originally been assigned as an additional personnel.

Since removing his helmet, people’s gazes had changed significantly. It hadn’t been much time since he started wearing it, but the change was perceptible.

It was all about appearance. Since the helmet was worn to conceal his ugly appearance, the contrast was stark.

It was enough for rumors to spread, even to the point where it was said he was a nobleman’s secret child.

‘Thinking back, it’s ridiculous.’

The words were too impolite, even Carlyn felt the need to create a little distance.

In the end, he denied it due to the shock. It was because he disliked the bias that came from his young age and appearance.

However, the atmosphere was not one of belief. People naturally believed what they wanted to believe.

With that kind of appearance, people thought, ‘Could it be because he was a secret child?’

The rumors that spread were also like that. The king’s question about whether he was a noble’s secret child had a significant impact, more so than Carlyn’s denial.

From Carlyn’s perspective, there was no need to deny it further. There was nothing wrong with it.

Even if the treatment of secret children wasn’t good, half of them were still nobles. They were treated better than commoners or mercenary novices.

Depending on their lineage, there were cases where they were treated on par with nobles.

‘She’s here again.’

Carlyn felt someone approaching through the Winds. While moving, he didn’t feel the need to establish familiarity.

He knew about Carl Schurtafen’s deeds, but there was no need to go into detail.

The original Carl Schurtafen was also introverted. Moreover, there were a few others approaching first.

Princess Haisen was one of them.

From the moment the princess saw Carlyn’s face, her gaze remained fixed.

The disconnect between the imagined hideousness and the reality created a shock that was even greater for her.

The princess, who had secretly watched knightly literature, saw a figure resembling her ideal.

For the first few days, the princess had been observing discreetly, but as they drew closer to the Empire’s land, she began to engage in conversation bit by bit.

-You’re impressive at a young age!

At first, it was a light greeting or praise. In a world flowing with magic power, 18 years old was certainly a young age.

Considering Carl Schurtafen’s achievements, this was even more true.

Carlyn responded appropriately. Even though he had heard unfavorable comments in the courtyard, she was still the king’s daughter.

He couldn’t afford to fidget. And the princess’s nature was like that as well.

“Good morning, Your Highness. Did you have a peaceful night?”

“Yes. And Carl, how are you?”

The princess’s face was always radiant with a rare innocence.

For Carlyn, who had lived in the intelligence bureau, it was one of the unfamiliar things.

The fact that the princess, who called himself ‘young’, was actually younger than Carlyn played a part.

The fourteen-year-old princess couldn’t even think that she was in the wrong.

“I felt the same.”

Carlyn replied with a faint smile, exchanging a dull question and answer.

Amidst past stories and compliments on how well he handled his sword, there was a remark that unexpectedly piqued his interest.

“Carl seems to be the type my sister would like. She appreciates quietness.”

While the intention behind the quietness was deliberate even when facing the princess, the latter was more memorable.

The term ‘sister’ referred to the imperial princess.

“Are you close with Her Imperial Highness the Princess?”

“A little. We don’t see each other often, though…”

The princess trailed off, glancing aside. Carlyn thought that she seemed to be flaunting her familiarity.

There was no need to pry, but knowing even a little was important.

“That’s fortunate. I was worried since I tend to be quiet.”

“Don’t worry. She might actually like that. My sister really dislikes insincere words. She even seems to have a supernatural ability to detect lies.”

“Is that so?”

Carlyn showed a slight interest, slightly lowering his upper body.

He had only met the princess a handful of times during the game. He didn’t know what kind of person she was.

Moreover, the princess he had seen in the game was generally in her late twenties. Now she was sixteen, younger than Carlyn.

A ten-year gap.

Considering what the princess had experienced in the game, she might have been an entirely different person.

It wasn’t that there was no information about the princess, but only close people knew certain things.

Still, Carlyn was willing to listen.

“I’ll keep that in mind. Is there anything else I should be aware of?”

“Well, she likes sweets…”

Even that was information Carlyn had never heard before. In a way, it seemed like an obvious statement.

There wasn’t much that Carlyn could do about it. Since the guards didn’t provide food, anyway.

The princess seemed to be groping for vague memories. Perhaps she was trying to find a reason, having said that they were close.

“Ah! She’s quite thoughtful.”

“I see.”

Carlyn already knew that. The princess had an insight beyond imagination.

She was sharp. Afterward, the conversation continued, but it didn’t yield any meaningful information.

As they got closer to the Empire’s capital, the conversations with the princess became less frequent. It wasn’t that the princess’s interest had waned.

It was simply because there was less to talk about with the reserved Carlyn. The fleeting glances remained.

Carlyn pretended not to know, though there wasn’t a reason for him to be noticed.

And finally.

In the distance, the capital of the Empire, the white city of Chenarus, began to come into view. Carlyn steeled himself.

This was just the beginning.

* * *

The banquet was scheduled for two weeks later.

As the Emperor’s birthday approached, the Imperial Palace was bustling with activity, even at a glance.

“I’ve summoned additional guards for you.”


In response to the Empress’s words, the Princess remained silent. Guards? For what reason? It raised questions more than anything else.

Rather than being sudden, it seemed there was a hidden meaning behind it, making the statement less pleasant.

The Princess’s gaze drifted outside the room. Her personal guards numbered four. Two of them were stationed outside the door in shifts.

The Empress spoke with a dignified expression.

“Don’t dismiss this matter. Your father mentioned competition, so new guards must be arranged. There should be at least one person we can trust.”

The Princess sneered inwardly. The subject of the statement about trust wasn’t the Princess herself.

From the beginning, the idea of someone trustworthy to her seemed distant.

“Who will be going?”

“We’re considering sending Sir Mirek…”


The Empress observed the Princess’s expression and corrected herself.

“Don’t be responsible for the one who’s leaving. But after all, they are your guards.”

“Then I’ll go with Karzan.”

The Princess replied promptly. She had endured it for quite some time. She didn’t like the looks directed at her.

She had borne the discomfort as a restrained guard, both due to her position as a high-ranking noble and because her mother had assigned her the guard.

“Sir Karzan? Still, he’s one of the Dumen counts…”

“The new guard said would be provided according to Mother’s words. I’ll do it my way.”

The Empress, although dissatisfied with the Princess’s resolute face, nodded.

She thought it might be a good idea to look into other possibilities.

“Who is this new guard?”

“Carl Schurtafen.”

The Princess narrowed her eyes. This was the first time she had heard the name, even though it was someone who would be her guard.

She was suspicious of her mother’s words being untrue.

“I called him from Haisen.”


“Erendil, right now there’s no place more trustworthy than my relatives.”

The Princess, Erendil, glanced at the Empress for a moment.

“Is that the only reason?”


It was a lie. Erendil had anticipated it somewhat.

Because of her siblings’ dislike for her and the Empress, the trials the Empress had faced in the past were beyond imagination.

So it wasn’t unusual for her mother to become ambitious after her father’s declaration.

Erendil stifled a sigh. She didn’t particularly like her siblings.

It was simply a matter of potential.

The elder princes had already secured their positions. Moreover, there were gender limitations. Even if Haisen offered help, could they reverse the situation?

‘Even if the Empire is aware of these intentions…’

There were ample reasons, but the Empire was not just an empire for no reason. Suspicion was inevitable.

If the truth were to be revealed, the Princess wouldn’t be seen in a good light, since she had attracted foreign influences.

Of course, there were those who supported the Princess as well. The behavior of the three princes hadn’t been particularly good.

However, even if things went well, there would be sacrifices, and if things went wrong, there was no avoiding punishment.

Much blood was being shed pointlessly. Erendil didn’t want to get involved in a fight with a high probability of failure.

That was why she had said she had no interest in the imperial throne, but…

It was a futile effort. The Empress had already staked her bet on a war with low chances of success.

The potential for that outcome was also likely drenched in blood, and Erendil knew there was a high probability of her own blood being shed. She tried to suppress her uneasy heart.

“He’ll probably arrive tomorrow.”

“I understand.”

Erendil was aware of her cousin’s impending arrival.

She had been looking forward to it. The purity that was hard to find in this place was something she anticipated.

However, right now, that sense of anticipation had deflated considerably.

It wasn’t her cousin’s fault, but Erendil found this meeting somewhat unpleasant. The Empress had meddled.

“Don’t treat him rudely, he is still one of us.”


* * *

We arrived in Chenarus in the afternoon, but since prior contact was necessary, we couldn’t go straight to the palace. 

We had to secure lodgings and unpack before we heard that we were to come tomorrow morning.

And the next day, when I woke up from sleep, I felt something strange. The answer was quickly found. 

I hadn’t dreamt of the recurring dream. It was the first time since meeting the nun.

‘The nightmare was not particularly pleasant.’

It was a mystical harmony, but there was no time to ponder over it as we had to visit early in the morning. 

I couldn’t be later than the princess, so I immediately armed myself and headed down. The wait was short.

After walking for a while, the palace came into view in the distance. I felt a strange sensation. A current seemed to flow through my mind.

Flickering scenes overlay onto reality like a lingering image. It was the place I had seen in my dream.

‘Finally realizing this now…’

The recurring dream was like a lingering mist after waking. Thoughts from the dream didn’t come to mind.

Could it have been a kind of prophecy?

Perhaps something passed on to me from Ines. Without realizing it, I found myself nodding.

I hadn’t even known at that time that I would become the princess’s guard.

Anyway, I moved with Princess Haisen, so there was no time to waste. We followed the guide through the corridors. These things were just dawning on me.

‘The room I used to go to must have been the princess’s.’

What was strange was that there wasn’t such a guide back then. The same went for companions. We were in somewhat of a hurry. Could these be events in the future, even further ahead than now?

Even as I thought this, my eyes discreetly surveyed the surroundings. It was a habit to look for escape routes.

Soon, we reached a room, but it wasn’t the room from my dream. I didn’t sense anything eerie.

It might have been a reception room.

On either side of the door stood two knights. Their gaze quickly scanned us. They must have heard about the princess’s guards.

Unlike the princess’s guards, who were discreet, I stood out, so their gaze soon fell on me.

‘I had anticipated this.’

One seemed neutral, the other hostile. Even the neutral one had some distance from friendliness.

I hadn’t avoided the gazes that I had anticipated. Amidst the conflicting gazes, the guide inclined their head at the door.

“Your Highness, Princess of Haisen has come to visit.”

“Let her in.”

The voice that reached us wasn’t the princess’s. Since there was a hint of age in it, I thought it might be the empress.

Only then did I turn my gaze.

Finally, the door opened. In the expanding field of view, the princess was there.

In my dreams and outside, it was the first time I had seen the princess. Strangely, our eyes met directly.

‘Could those eyes see the truth?’

The princess’s Mystic eye could discern truth from falsehood.

Unlike the eyes of the knights, which seemed to pierce through me, her gaze felt like it was delving into my inner self, causing my breath to subtly tremble.

Author's Thoughts

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